Road trips in an electric vehicle are about to get easier. A lot easier.
GM announced on Thursday that it plans to build a nationwide network of 2,000 DC fast chargers at up to 500 Pilot and Flying J truck stops and travel centers across the country. The automaker will do so at 50-mile intervals along major U.S. highways, essentially making electric travel as easy as its gas-powered counterpart.
The chargers will be managed by EVgo, a company that has found success in operating its open charging network like a club, accessible to all via a membership fee. GM is already planning to install 3,250 chargers with EVgo, which are slated to be finished by the end of 2025.
This development could help remedy range anxiety around EVs, which surveys show is one of the main reasons the public is reluctant to embrace electrified travel fully. While GM is championing the effort, the network will be open to EV drivers, regardless of the make and model of their car. Beyond GM, companies like Electrify America, Siemens and others are also investing in building out charging infrastructure across the U.S.
This cobbled-together nationwide network is arriving not a moment too soon. While the Biden administration envisioned pouring funds into a public charging network that could speed EV adoption, the bipartisan infrastructure bill ended up allocating just half of the $15 billion that the administration initially wanted. (Even that $15 billion likely wouldn't have been enough to properly build out a national network.)
In the absence of a larger federal investment, the private sector is finding that ponying up money for charging is a prerequisite if it wants to convert its customers into EV drivers.
Construction of the GM-backed network will begin this summer, according to spokesperson Philip Lienert, and the first chargers will be ready for action next year. The companies involved did not disclose how much each will contribute to the endeavor.
GM has an eye on winning the long game of EV sales. Though the company is currently behind competitors like Tesla and Ford, GM has been explicit about its plans to accelerate the production and sale of EVs in order to meet its goal of phasing out sales of gas-powered vehicles by 2035.